Talent connects with mobility companies at FACE event

This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.
Mid-way through her master of science degree at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Shreya knows it’s never too early to start networking with potential future employers.

Magna and Mahle, two big name suppliers in the mobility space, were companies she visited during her trip to the Future Automotive Career Expo during AutoMobili-D at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center.

Shreya, who uses just one name, will graduate with her advanced degree in mechanical engineering in April 2020, so she’s taking some time now to learn more about the mobility ecosystem. “My specializations are hybrid vehicles and electrification, so it’s interesting to know what is out there,” she says, adding that she spent some time at the GBatteries display, talking electrification.

The 150,000 square-foot space dedicated to AutoMobili-D teemed with students and other career-seekers, and some companies had their human resources people on hand to talk about job opportunities.

A collaborative between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan (TED), the Future Automotive Career Expo (FACE) gathered in one space resources and information that interested students and job seekers need to begin a career in automobility, says Erica Quealy, communications director with TED.

“The automotive industry is now so high-tech focused. We are working to gear people up for these careers by bringing together employers and industry experts so job seekers can learn and see first hand the career opportunities available,” says Quealy.
Information technology, cybersecurity, engineering, design, infrastructure, coding, software development, advanced manufacturing, and robotics are just a few of the career paths available to those pursuing a career in automobility.

Attendees also had access to AutoMobili-D, where they could speak with startups, OEMs, public sector organizations, and colleges and universities to get a full understanding of the future of automobility.

“The startups have been really informative for me,” says Howard Abbey, who attended FACE to immerse himself in the mobility ecosystem for the day, and talk with potential employers at the same time. With 16 years of experience in mapping technology through his consulting business Teal Centroid, Abbey is looking to pivot his skills to autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), or industry analytics.AutoMobili-D set the stage for employers and career seekers to talk mobility.

All mobility, but something for everyone

Startups, large suppliers, even public sector entities connected with participants during the event.

“We’re harvesting resumes right now,” says Scott Schramm, technical adviser with U.S. Army TARDEC. Schramm and his colleague, TARDEC program manager Alicia Price, took the opportunity to make sure potential job applicants knew they didn’t need to join the army to join TARDEC, and that many of their open jobs are listed on USAJobs.gov. “These are government civilian jobs,” says Price.

Other companies did not have HR people on hand, but were happy to accept resumes and talk about their companies nonetheless. Some had their products on display, such as Stratasys Direct, a 3D printing company that has a presence in Farmington Hills. “What we do has an attractiveness to the manufacturing sector,” says Frank Jeskie, regional account manager. This booth showed off automotive parts that were created through 3D printing techniques.

“There are some amazing displays by companies from all over the world that bring products to engage with,” says Alicia Boyd, marketing and events manager with TED. “When we think mobility, it’s sometimes hard to conceptualize, but here you’ll be able to really get into the new age innovations and vehicles, even drones.”

Beyond engineering to new and interesting fields of study

Those looking to hone their skills had the chance to connect with educational institutions like Washtenaw Community College, Wayne State, and University of Michigan.

Participants tinkered with a small autonomous car, training it to understand the track set up at the Eastern Michigan University booth. Nada Madkour, PhD student and graduate research assistant in information security explained how she and her peers were hacking into the car’s instructions to learn how the vehicle would respond. Visitors to the display asked a variety of questions, depending upon their backgrounds and perspectives.

“Technical people asked more about the details of the chip or the components of the car. Others asked about the end goal of the demonstration,” says Madkour. EMU is always looking to partner with organizations to facilitate programs and research.

Nada Madkour, PhD student and research assistant at Eastern Michigan University demonstrates a mini AV.

At the nearby PlanetM stage, panel discussions provided information about trends, the value of social media in the job search, entrepreneurship, and corporate sponsor presentations.

FACE welcomed all levels of job seekers, and attendees had the opportunity to learn about the wide spectrum of openings that will need to be filled now and in the future of automobility.

“Last year, quite a few employers said they were glad to meet engineers, and what they were also looking for is individuals representing the skilled trades and manufacturing. So we are engaging a wide spectrum of the automotive industry at this event,” says Boyd.

Panel discussions were among the highlights of FACE 2019. Photo by Michigan TED.

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